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New rule affirming the “provision or acceptance of gift policy” for governmental officials

The “provision or acceptance of gift policy” is a key compliance principle in the governmental sector, as reflected in several key pieces of legislation. On 13 January 2023, the Office of the Prime Minister issued the Regulation on the Provision or Acceptance of Gift of Governmental Officials, B.E. 2565 (2022) (“Provision or Acceptance of Gift Policy Regulation“), which came into effect on 14 January 2023. This regulation updates and strengthens the policy on the provision or acceptance of gifts for the governmental sector. The regulation applies to all government officials, including but not limited to officials, staff, and employees of government agencies and state-owned enterprises.

What are considered gifts?

Any valuable property or benefits, whether tangible or intangible, are considered gifts. This includes physical presents as well as discounts, special training, entertainment, meals, travel, accommodation, digital assets, advance payments, etc. (Note that this list is not exhaustive).

Key principles

The Provision or Acceptance of Gift Policy Regulation provides strict policy principles for government officials to comply with. Some key principles include:

Government officials and their family members are prohibited from providing gifts to their supervisors or their family members unless it is in accordance with social tradition and within the prescribed threshold. 
 
Supervisors and government officials must not accept gifts from other government officials and their family members, or allow their own family members to do so, unless it is in accordance with social tradition and within the prescribed threshold.
 
Supervisors and government officials must not accept gifts from persons who are involved in the performance of their official duties, or allow their own family members to do so, unless it is (i) in accordance with the social tradition and within the prescribed threshold, (ii) an acceptance of the gift that is the legitimate property or benefits derived under the law, or (iii) the gift is given on an “ethical basis” as defined under the Act Supplementing The Constitution Relating To The Prevention And Suppression Of Corruption, B.E. 2561 (2018).

Violation by business operators

Government officials who violate the Provision or Acceptance of Gift Policy Regulation will be subject to discipline or will be considered as noncompliance with the Government officials’ Ethical Code. Business operators should also take this regulation into account as guidelines for their compliance management, even though it only prescribes obligations for governmental officials.

How we can help

Baker McKenzie has the experience and international coverage to help you devise and implement a compliance program or fill in the gaps of your existing program. We provide comprehensive advice on all aspects of anti-bribery and corruption risk, including leading and managing complex investigations (both internal and regulator-driven), negotiating with governmental regulators, structuring compliance policies and programs, and providing holistic compliance consultation.

With internationally recognized lawyers and our long-standing presence in the highest-risk jurisdictions, our Investigations, Compliance & Ethics group is well-placed to advise clients on how best to mitigate risk and conduct business ethically without sacrificing profitability.

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Author

Yuthana is a partner and co-head of the Investigations, Compliance & Ethics Practice Group at Baker McKenzie, Bangkok. He is an acknowledged leader in the field of government procurement and contracts, and public-private partnership (PPP) projects. One of his most notable areas of expertise is advising on court cases that challenge decisions made by government authorities, or address disputes arising from procurements, bid rigging, administrative orders and contracts, as well as arbitration proceedings. Prior to joining the Firm, he was a judge advocate, serving in the Royal Thai Navy for more than five years, becoming well versed in government procurement and contracts, and negotiation and investigation skills. His roles and responsibilities covered a wide range of issues dealing with administrative law, government contracts and civilian and military personnel law, acting as an inquiry official legally empowered to conduct investigations. His responsibilities also extended to the provision of legal advice in the area of procurements, terms of reference (TOR), and contracts in procuring armaments and naval ships, as well as the law on the use of navally supervised state-owned land, including drafting rules and regulations and negotiating international contracts for the Royal Thai Navy.

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Napatorn joined Baker McKenzie in 2010. She is active in the consumer goods and retail and healthcare and life sciences industries as well as investigations, compliance and ethics and mergers and acquisitions practices.

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Praween Chantanakomes is a Legal Professional in Baker McKenzie, Bangkok office.

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Pongtorn Jittapinijmas is an Associate in Baker McKenzie Bangkok office.

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Woraphan Khunakornkorbkij is a Legal Professional in Baker McKenzie, Bangkok office.

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